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Sudanese security releases several political activists

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April 8, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National and Security Services (NISS) have released several political activists on Monday including five members of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) but the latter said the move fell short of meeting requirements of the national dialogue and accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of circumventing people’s demands.

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Officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on parade in Khartoum on 3 December 2013 (ST)

The SCP stressed in a press release on Tuesday that the NCP continues to ignore dialogue requirements, noting that internal and external pressures besides the severe political crisis have forced the ruling party to comply with the demands for creating an atmosphere conducive for dialogue and establishing an independent mechanism to facilitate it.

But it said the NCP insisted on ignoring those demands and imposing control on the dialogue issues and outcome in order to continue holding on to power and applying same policies which created the current crises.

The SCP noted that the opposition umbrella organization of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) stated necessary conditions for creating an atmosphere conducive for genuine dialogue.

Those conditions include annulling of laws restricting freedoms, releasing political detainees, allowing freedom of press, assembly and protests, ending wars, allowing passage of humanitarian assistance to rebel controlled areas and releasing prisoners of war.

The statement said the presidential directives fell short of meeting those conditions, demanding issuing presidential decrees cancelling all laws contrary to the constitution and releasing all detainees besides dropping charges against those are being prosecuted and allowing freedom of publication, protest, and expression.

It pointed to the need for ending the war in order to allow rebel groups to participate in the dialogue and engage people in the war-affected areas, wondering how the regime could offer safeguards for the rebels while it issues court rulings including the death penalty against members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

The SCP further emphasised the need to establish a consensual transitional government that carries out a program for easing the difficult living conditions and holding a constitutional conference to draft the new constitution and hold free and fair elections.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir announced a series of resolutions at the onset of a political roundtable held on Sunday in Khartoum with the participation of 83 political parties.

The NCF forces boycotted the political roundtable, saying the government didn’t respond to its conditions for creating an environment conducive for dialogue.

Bashir instructed authorities in the states and localities across Sudan to enable political parties to carry out their activities inside and outside their headquarters without restrictions except those dictated by the law.

The Sudanese president also pledged to enhance press freedom so that it can play its role in the success of the national dialogue unconditionally as long they abide by the norms of the profession.

Political detainees who have not been found to be involved in criminal acts will be released, Bashir added.

He also stressed the government’s commitment and willingness to allow rebels to participate in the national dialogue and vowed to give them adequate and appropriate safeguards to attend and depart safely afterwards.

In a televised address to the nation in January, Bashir announced a four-point plan for reform “to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity”.

He called for political forces and even rebel groups, on the condition they lay down their arms, to engage in dialogue aimed at meeting key objectives.

NCP officials, including Bashir, have brushed aside opposition calls for the 2015 elections to be delayed and the formation of a transitional government that would work on drafting a new constitution to prepare the country for the polls.

The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) are the only major opposition parties to accept Bashir’s call for national dialogue so far.

But both parties warned that they would pull out of dialogue with the NCP if progress stalls.

(ST)

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